“One of the toughest challenges I face living with an invisible illness is explaining to others what it’s like to be in my head. From the long anxious nights fighting insomnia to struggling to find the motivation to get out of bed most mornings, one of the only ways I’m able to explain what it’s like to grapple with my persistent depression is by using analogies.
Analogies help me to be both creative and descriptive as I paint a mental image of my experiences. The most recent analogy I’ve used to explain my depression to my therapist is the most spot-on, especially since this year has been my toughest one yet.
My analogy goes a little like this: Living with persistent depressive disorder is like a series of dark tunnels in my mind. There are no lights at the end of any of these tunnels. Instead, the lights are in small pockets underneath street lamps surrounded by fireflies. These fireflies represent strength, reassurance, and growth. And although they aren’t everlasting, I can use what I’ve learned from them while I continue to crawl along in my dark tunnel.
I’m proud to know my toolbox is filled with everything I’ve learned in the light, but that doesn’t make my darkness end — I face that reality every day. But with that knowledge, I can keep going because I know I’ll soon reach another bright pocket.
If you ever find yourself in your own dark tunnel, it’s OK to rest and take a peek inside your self-care toolbox. You are not alone and the darkness doesn’t always last forever.”
Have you ever used an analogy to describe what it’s like living with an invisible illness? Join the conversation here on The Pencil Case.
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It’s persistent, consistent, and loyal, it comes to you when you least expect it, it comes to you in the middle of the night and stays to keep you company. It holds you while you cry and lingers around until you try to feel better. You argue with it, you convince yourself it’s not real, you push it away. It comes back when you thought it finally left. You miss it when you see that’s it’s gone because it was the only persistent feeling you’ve ever had. Can you be patient with it and not want it to come back? How can you get so used to how it feels that you can identify it so clearly? Its presence allows you to know you are still alive and you still can feel. Is it scary that if it goes away it could mean you healed or fell numb to its presence enough to internalize it? Do you accept it, push it away, hide it, or try to rid of it? Pain. Is the presence of pain good so you have patience with it or should you try to take it away? Does it go away by itself or do you do something about it?